Liberal business owners, like the owner of Virginia’s Red Hen Restaurant, should keep a list of unwelcome current and former Trump administration officials who aren’t welcome at their businesses, and enforce it, Splice Today writer Chris Beck opines. They should also prepare to face consequences.
The Red Hen is one of several recent incidents in which business owners, or people associated with those businesses, have had Trump administration inside their walls, to ill effect. The Red Hen, however, may have been the most well-publicized case. In June, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders visited the restaurant, but none of the staff members wanted to serve her. Owner Stephanie Wilkinson asked Sanders to leave, and she did, without incident.
That prompted a huge backlash against the restaurant, bringing protesters to the storefront and forcing the business to close for two weeks.
In a somewhat reverse situation to the Red Hen incident, Virginia bookstore owner Nick Cooke called the cops on a woman who confronted former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, calling him a “piece of trash.” Cooke says he did so not out of any devotion to politics, but simply because one customer was making a ruckus and making another customer uncomfortable and refusing to leave – and that’s just bad business. Regardless, that got him blowback from some liberals.
Chris Beck says that this type of thing is simply a danger that business owners, especially in the Washington area, are going to have to face in today’s political climate. And in some cases, like that of Black Swan Books, it’s going to be damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Had Cooke allowed the customer to harass Bannon, or had asked him to leave, he’d have another Red Hen situation on his hands. Instead, he tried to do what’s best for his business and, well, look where that got him.
So what should you do?
Beck has a couple of suggestions. First, he says, you should adhere to the old parenting philosophy of consistency. Develop a list of personae non grata – Beck calls it the “S**t List” – and enforce it, no exceptions. Make one exception and you’re sunk.
His second suggestion is a more practical approach than a philosophical one. If you have a restaurant and a Trump administration official wants to eat, seat them in a far corner of the place, he says, rather than in a visible and accessible location. That way, if another customer wants to confront them – as was the case with DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen – they’ll be in a place where it’s less likely that a giant scene will be made.
Whatever you do, however, know this, says Beck, “This is part of the Democrats’ culture now, and more incidents are on the way.”